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How successful are business productivity initiatives?

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Businesses love the idea of cranking up productivity levels. It means they earn more per unit of expenditure. At least, that's the theory. The trouble is that people get in the way.

The company will install equipment that works harder. And you can be sure that they will either exhort you to work harder or provide you with tools to help you produce better results faster.

But the question is, are you more productive than you used to be? Do your tools (software in our case) help you deliver more value to the company during your working week?

Perhaps you're finding it hard because you're floundering under a deluge of new procedures, new tools and an ever-growing information mountain.

It's pretty easy to measure productivity if you're in sales. You get rewarded, or fired, as a direct consequence of your numbers. Get deeper into the company, though, and the metrics become a bit murkier. Haringey council boasting of its childcare performance following the death of 'Baby P' is a classic of the metrics being wholly inappropriate.

But more people are being measured by their outputs these days. Once upon a time it was a case of making sure you got in before, and left after, the boss. Now it's more likely to be a case of showing what you've delivered against expectations.

Sometimes software can help you be more productive. Maybe it's imposed on you by the company and sometimes you quietly get on with it yourself using some tools you got online. Which is fine until it goes wrong, then you beg IT support for help. It's likely they'd be more sympathetic if you'd stuck to the sanctioned software.

What's it like for you - are you more productive than you used to be? What would you say has done you the most good, and what's done you the most harm?

Don't send answers on a postcard. Stick 'em in the comments. We promise to read them avidly.

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